I feel quite certain that if I went back and read my posts from hunting seasons in years past I would discover that I almost always get sick with something when my husband is gone on these week-long or longer trips.
Searching my soul, I do not think it is because of loneliness at all. I think it is a matter of feeling abandoned which of course is ridiculous because my husband has not abandoned me, but merely gone off for a few days to do something he loves. However, the issue of abandonment is one that I have been trying to deal with my entire life and I am aware of that and I know where it came from. It's no big mystery. When I was very young my daddy disappeared and my mother, although (mostly) was present in the physical sense, she was not extremely emotionally available. She had too much on her own plate and I know that and as an adult I even understand it and can empathize but again, knowledge of where and why doesn't always cut the anger or the fear, just as adding more and more water to a soup which has been overdosed with hot red pepper doesn't always make it fit to eat.
Soup. I've got soup on the brain.
I've got a pot of soup on the stove big enough and powerful enough to feed and cure an entire ward of the languishing ill. I loved making it. I love the way the knife blade slices through the celery, the carrots, the onions, each vegetable giving way to the edge with a different feel, the way the big knife I use to cut the greens bites through them with such a satisfying thunk. I love peeling and crushing clove after clove of garlic. I love gathering the greens in the garden: the mustards, the collards, and yes even the kale. I love the cutting up of the hot peppers into the tiniest, thinnest molecules of heat, even the way my fingers sting when I'm done. I get a thrill out of sharpening the knife enough so that when I cut the tomatoes the skin offers no barrier but splits beneath it with ease.
I have no patience for dull knives.
Show me your knives and I will tell you how serious you are about your cooking.
I drank tea all day as I made the soup, as I called the Dish people. The woman I got on the phone was wonderful. I explained what I had done already and how the second receiver was working fine and she said they would send me a new receiver and take some off of next month's bill for the two weeks of wonkiness we've experienced. I didn't even ask for that. I wasn't even on the phone long enough to ask her how the weather was. I sipped my tea (green with spearmint and peppermint) and explained the situation and then we were done and I hadn't even finished my cup.
Lis called and said she was on her way to Tallahassee to do a little recording and that she wanted to come by on her way home for coffee, for us to sit and swing our legs and chat for a few moments. I told her I was feeling a little sick and she said, "That's all right," and I'm glad she came. It was all rightness to see her, if only for a few moments. We sat on the back porch and heart-shared and I was so glad to see her.
I was so cold when she left and I took a hot bath and read and read and when I got out, I dug out one of my Goodwill cashmere sweaters and I'm wearing it now and thinking about abandonment issues and how guilty I feel because I've called Lily to tell her that I really don't think I can keep the boys tomorrow. I have barely done that in the four years since Owen was born and I keep thinking that I'll probably wake up tomorrow and feel fine and then she'll have missed a day of work for nothing and that's a lot of money. What if I don't have the virus? What if I just have the memory-ache-of-abandonment sickness?
Ah well. The universe probably doesn't care at all either way and sometimes, as Lis and I talked about today, we need to take care of ourselves.
And so I will eat some of that soup and get in the bed and read some more.
It's okay and the moon is shining down on all of us here on this tiny, fragile, miracle of a planet where life began and a soup formed from which it grew and expanded to form all of this from ferns to the giant redwoods, to spiders and camellias and garlic and collard greens, from the ant to the elephant, from the dumb stupid brain of the mighty dinosaur to the incredibly sensitive and clever fingers and thumbs and brain of the human to the unbelievably open, fragile and sometimes tender thing which is the human heart.
And the moon shines over it all, that blind, silent cold witness.
Which is beautiful, even still.
I have not been abandoned at all. I have been given this gift of time by myself to think and to be and to feel deeply. And to make soup. From which it all springs. And I know this is true, just as I know that sharp knives make good cooking, just as I know that life is too mysterious to get all worked up about.
And that beauty is to be found in all of it.